#1122 Save the world, starting with bees

Pollinating the lupine in Rotary Marsh, Kelowna, British Columbia

Pollinating the lupine in Rotary Marsh, Kelowna, British Columbia – can anyone help me identify the species? [THANKS, Bumble Bee Watch. I barely posted the request when I learned this is likely a black-tailed bumble bee, bombus melanopygus.]

Just when news of the day threatens to make optimism look like a fool’s errand, I learn about a 4-decade-old organization that connects scientists and citizens around an important goal: to protect invertebrates and their habitat. Since 1971 the Xerces Society has cared about many of the unloved but essential creatures of the world. Our food supply and that of birds, mammals and fish is dependent on butterflies, dragonflies, worms, starfish, mosquitoes and all the other tiny but mighty invertebrates.

I found out about the society when someone alerted me to a site where anyone can sign in and submit a bumble bee sighting. Bees have fascinated me since I farmed on Vancouver Island. In my large gardens, bees hummed constantly around me. I felt as if we were all working for the same thing, the preservation of biodiversity, each in our own way.

The plight of bees and other pollinators is alarming. We two-leggeds are dependent on them for so much of the food we eat and the plant and animal life we value. Yet we are killing them off as if we had gone mad.

So thank you, Xerces Society and Bumble Bee Watch. You are doing a lot to educate people about some of the earth’s most essential species.

You can follow Bumble Bee Watch on Twitter and Facebook.

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